From addiction to recovery – Bea's story

Learn more about our Better Than Well programme, designed to support students who are in recovery while they study with us

No matter what your addiction is, recovery is possible. In this blog, Postgraduate student “Bea” (name has been changed for confidentiality) shares their personal experience of reaching out to UoB’s free student-led addiction recovery programme.

Taking the first step

I started attending Better Than Well last October.

When I emailed Luke Trainor and Dr Ed Day (Project Managers), they immediately responded offering to have a call or meet me on campus.

I was worried that I didn’t fit the typical ‘box’ of an addiction with my current and recent diagnosis of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). Having had a previous “exercise addiction” (or what I viewed as an unhealthy relationship with exercise at the time) Luke reassured me that Better Than Well (BTW) would suit me.

Even though I’ve only been part of the BTW programme for a few months, it’s made a huge difference to how I feel about my conditions and has given me a focus and perspective on my own recovery.

I was feeling quite isolated, lost and like I was hiding my OCD most of the time. BTW has provided me a space where I can turn up, be myself and be honest about my OCD.

Developing my own recovery narrative

When I joined BTW, I didn’t identify with being in recovery, but being part of the programme has helped me develop a narrative around my recovery should I want to disclose it. I’m still not quite comfortable with disclosing it publicly, but there are a few people I have mentioned it to that I wouldn’t have had it not been for the support at BTW.

Engaging in studies and recovery

Before joining BTW, I was struggling to fit my Masters in and all my recovery-focused things. When I was focusing on recovery, I felt guilty for not working on my degree. But when I was only focused on my degree, my recovery got worse. Now I see the importance of getting a balance between both, and this is something I am always working on.

1:1 support

Progamme Manager Luke has been a huge support since I’ve joined BTW. He’s answered my questions about recovery, supported me in developing my recovery narrative, and helped me to process and make decisions about things going on in my life.

We’re currently working on my Wellness Recovery Action Plan which is helping me to build a recovery picture for myself. For me, this is hugely beneficial to do alongside other support I am receiving from my psychologist. This process has allowed me to take a step back and keep motivated in recovering.  

Luke has also seen me at my worst and supported me through panic and feeling overwhelmed. Knowing that he’s only a phone call away and available on campus for drop-ins is very reassuring.

“Although we all have different addictions, I don’t feel alone and know there are friends available on campus to help me if I need it.”

Peer support

Through being in BTW I’ve met several other students going through similar struggles. Although we all have different addictions, I don’t feel alone and know there are friends available on campus to help me if I need it. I now feel part of a community and less alone in my recovery. I feel accepted and comfortable in everyone’s company at BTW and this makes me feel like some pressure has been lifted.

Hearing others experiences, struggles and ways of coping makes me feel connected and hopeful with recovery.

A quiet space on campus

On Mondays and Fridays, The Lodge is available for us to ‘drop in’ as part of the BTW programme. Knowing that there’s a quiet space to go on campus if I get overwhelmed has made it easier to come in on those days.

Understanding what works from the research

The recovery ‘celebration’ on Fridays is often attended by Dr Ed Day. We have a topic to discuss, and although we all share our own perspectives, Ed often provides us with some insightful information from research. I appreciate this perspective as a researcher myself.

A better understanding of the role of my different sources of support

When I first attended BTW, I felt like I was just attending different appointments with clinicians and not really getting anywhere with my recovery. I feel like I am starting to understand where my sources of support fit and how I can best utilize them for my recovery.

I am so so grateful that I am part of the programme and have met all the wonderful individuals through it! Thank you everyone at Better Than Well.


To find out more about Better Than Well, or to contact Luke or Ed, visit the Better Than Well page on the student intranet Wellbeing pages. You may also be interested in finding out more about our SMART Recovery programme on campus.


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